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​County Wants Residents To Beat the Heat


kids playing outside in the summerCurrent weather forecasts show temperatures upwards of 90 degrees. As residents prepare for outdoor activities, the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department encourages people to stay safe and avoid heat related illness as the summer season quickly approaches.

Heat related illness occurs when the body is unable to compensate and properly cool itself. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but under some conditions, sweating is not sufficient. When this occurs, the temperature of the body rises rapidly and heat related illness may develop. This includes heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

Here are some tips to help you stay safe and still enjoy some fun in the sun:

  • Drink plenty of water (at least 8-10 glasses a day, more if you are working or exercising in a hot environment) to maintain good hydration. Carry water or juice with you and drink often, even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing. If you must be outdoors, be sure to apply sunscreen. In addition to very real concerns about skin cancer, sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluid.  
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels). 
  • Never leave a child or pet unattended in a car during hot weather, even with the windows open. Temperatures can reach lethal levels within minutes.
  • If you cannot be in an air-conditioned environment, keep air circulating with fans and adjust blinds and window shades to reduce heat from the sun. Shut off all non-essential lights and appliances. Electric fans can provide some comfort, but with temperatures in the mid-90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a better way to cool off.
  • Visit a Park and Recreation outdoor pool, sprayground or recreation center.

Although the elderly and very young children are at greatest risk of suffering a heat related illness, anyone can be affected. Residents should call 911 if they are becoming ill from heat exposure. View more heat safety tips.